Kingston, Jamaica: Former heavyweight boxing champion Trevor Berbick was found dead in a church courtyard on Saturday with chop wounds to his head in a suspected homicide. Berbick, who was believed to be 52 and was beset by legal problems following his retirement from the ring, lost his heavyweight title to Mike Tyson and was the last boxer to fight Muhammad Ali. Berbick's body was discovered about 6:30 a.m. in his hometown parish of Portland, constable Beverly Howell said. He was pronounced dead by a local doctor in the courtyard. Police are treating Berbick's death as a homicide, Inspector Victor Henry said. Police have no word yet on what kind of weapon was used or how many people were involved in Berbick's death, Howell said. After beating Ali in 1981 in a unanimous decision in the Bahamas, Berbick went on to win the WBC heavyweight title fours years later in a decision over Pinklon Thomas. His reign was short, however, as a 20-year-old Tyson knocked Berbick out in the second round of their bout on Nov. 22, 1986, to become the youngest heavyweight champion in history. Berbick fought from 1976 to 2000, finishing with a record of 50-11 with one draw and 33 knockouts. He also fought for Jamaica at the 1976 Olympics in Montreal. He was a strong puncher who moved well and had the potential to be a lasting force in the heavyweight division before the emergence of Tyson. In spanning the Ali and Tyson eras, Berbick beat such fighters as Iran Barkley, Greg Page and John Tate. Among his losses were those to Buster Douglas, Renaldo Snipes and Larry Holmes. Berbick's career soured following the loss to Tyson and he began to run into legal trouble. In 1991, Berbick was convicted of misdemeanor assault for attacking his former business manager, who testified the boxer put a gun to her head and accused her of stealing money from him. The following year, he was convicted of raping a family baby sitter in the U.S. state of Florida and was sentenced to four years in prison. He also was convicted in 1992 of second-degree grand theft for forging his ex-wife's signature to get a mortgage on a home. After serving 15 months in prison, Berbick was deported from the United States. He went to Canada, where he lived for a time following the 1976 Olympics. He eventually moved back to the US, but was deported a second time. He had been living in Portland parish since 2002. Recently, he had been coaching boxing at clinics in Trinidad. Though Berbick was believed to be 52, according to boxing records, other reports said he was as old as 56 or as young as 49. "Legally, I'm a spirit," he once said. "I have no age."
Topics : Boxing